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Downs By The Pond
86667 Bailey Hill Road
Eugene, OR 97405
Phone: (541)342-5887
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Pond Tips

index

Preparing for a Pond

  1. Choosing a site
  2. The lay of the land
  3. Size and Shape
  4. Scale and perspective
  5. Size requirements
  6. Excavation
1. Choosing a site Top
A pond or other water feature will be the highlight of your landscape. Careful consideration should be given to the location you choose. We recommend choosing a site which can be enjoyed from inside your home as well as outdoors.
As most of us live in climates which cannot be used for outdoor living on a year round basis, we suggest that you view potential locations from inside while sitting down.
You will want to consider any unpleasant noises which might be masked by the sounds of water. Unpleasant noises might include street noise, barking dogs and nearby playgrounds. An example of someone needing white noise would be a day sleeper with gentle water outside the bedroom.
You will also want to have a pleasant background for your pond. If the backdrop is less than appealing, you can choose to change the location of the water feature, or plant evergreen trees and shrubs for screening. Some other potential screening materials would be privacy fencing, arbors and garden houses.
Water lilies and lotus prefer at least 6 hours of sun, so if one of your primary goals is to enjoy these plants, you should consider sunlight exposure.
The sound of moving water in a waterfall or stream will draw ones attention into a shady corner of your yard. Quite often it is possible to use shady areas for streams and falls, with the body of the pond in the sunlight.
When looking at your existing plantings, it is important to consider the types of trees and plants already present. Beware of coniferous (needle bearing) trees, as they shed year round which will increase maintenance. Deciduous (generally broadleaf which shed one time per year) trees can be effectively low maintenance with the use of leaf netting in the autumn. If leaf litter is going to be a problem, a skimmer box can greatly reduce the maintenance of your pond. In addition, some trees and plants are poisonous to fish and you should avoid building a fish pond where litter from these can enter the pond system.

2. The lay of the land Top
Natural slopes are wonderful for watercourses & falls, helping to create the illusion that the waterscape is natural. Caution should be used in planning so that runoff does not enter the water course. This is especially important with fish ponds. Quite often chemicals are used to control weeds and pests (such as slug bait) and fertilizer is used on lawns or surrounding plantings. Chemical poisons can and do kill fish, often in a fairly short time. Fertilizers entering the water will contribute to algae growth in the pond.
French drains or perforated pipe can be used to eliminate or reduce groundwater runoff in fish ponds or to keep groundwater from floating liners. Standing groundwater can easily become a large problem with preformed ponds, actually floating them out of the ground.

3. Size and Shape Top
It is important to give careful consideration to the purpose of your water feature. Will it be a home for fish? Will it be primarily for plants? Is it used to mask unwanted noise? Will it be natural? Will it be formal? Chances are, you want it to fulfill more than one purpose. It is best to have this purpose decided before the digging begins.
A garden hose can be used to outline a general shape for the pond.
Be careful of extreme curves: they can make laying the liner difficult. You should also be careful of creating very narrow spaces, such as streams.
Bigger is usually better and most people wish their pond was bigger, not smaller. Ponds always look smaller when they are finished and landscaped. It usually does not cost significantly more to increase the size at the beginning. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that filtration systems are quite often designed for ponds under 3500 gallons. To increase your feature above this can add considerably to the cost.

4. Scale and perspective Top
The perspective and relationship between the size of your feature and waterfalls is very important. Tall waterfalls go best with big ponds; low waterfalls generally are better with small ponds. Not only does this provide for the proper reservoir of water for the project, but the balance and scale will also look better.
A pond with a large surface area will show less evaporation loss, a critical point with large boisterous waterfalls. Most of the water loss is due to splash out or from the waterfalls and streams, not from holes in the liner.

5. Size requirements Top
Ponds designed for fish should be at least 24, but preferably 30-36 deep. There is little need to dig deeper than 4 feet except in extremely cold climates.
Water gardens designed for plants with no fish can be as shallow as 18; however those 24 deep will have a nicer, more natural appearance.
We encourage you to keep in mind that a large percentage of pond owners change their minds within months and decide to add fish. For this reason alone, you should consider a slightly deeper pond, and plan for a location where a filtration system could be added.

6. ExcavationTop
Ponds designed for fish should be at least 24, but preferably 30-36 deep. There is little need to dig deeper than 4 feet except in extremely cold climates.
Water gardens designed for plants with no fish can be as shallow as 18; however those 24 deep will have a nicer, more natural appearance.
We encourage you to keep in mind that a large percentage of pond owners change their minds within months and decide to add fish. For this reason alone, you should consider a slightly deeper pond, and plan for a location where a filtration system could be added.

 

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